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Discussion Starter #1
...mostly with scenery...

I'm still deadlocked here. I can pick a track plan or modify one I pick and lay it out. Runs fine. Then I come to scenicking the thing and I get stuck. I feel the transition from flat to hill, or elevated track to lower track or whatever, just isn't realistic or justifiable. I look at all sorts of pictures from others layouts, search the web for how-tos that'll help... but nothing.

So now, a good 3 months after deciding to get back into it, I'm looking at a sweet 6.5x12 table... with nothing on it.

What am I missing here?! It's driving me nuts (not to mention the wife and kid....). Besides Armstrong's track planning book, does anyone have some good recommendations? Is the Woodland Scenics guide book thing any good?

Oh well... had to vent some. It frustrating as hell!!!! I had a way-sweet plan laid out and killed it. It offered a good yard, an out of town line, double reverse loops, lots of sidings, track over track crossing, but I felt I put too much track in too tight an area and there'd be no way to scenic it in anyway close to acceptable.

Any help would be appreciated :knock_teeth_out:


Thanks.
EB
 

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Yard Master & Research
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Think out of the box?

From your post you want realism in scenery. Let's face it your on a table. You need to turn at some point. With realism you don't see trains turn.
Using your table keep it simple with wide turns. Ho is good for that.

When you go to shows they have nice long trains running on modular tables. You could put yourself in the center and build around. Mountain in one corner, yard in the other and a couple of factory sidings .

The layouts I have seen that have realism were built into the wall with 2 levels and a helix on the end. Over time they built around the room. These gentlemen operated the layout like a real railroad.

First question is, are you happy with your table? If you are take your time and try some different layouts with only a couple of features to model ,and not everything.

In O scale if I build a permanent one it will be modular to some extent.
My scenery skills are minimal. A little foam, a little paint, a little moss:laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the words, T-Man.

Yeah, it's tough on a table, even a good sized one. I'm using 22" as a minimum radius and a few a little larger. I'm keeping #6s on the mains and #4s on branches and in the yard. I'll probably have a couple snap switches in the yard but I'm going to try to keep those to an absolute minimum :rolleyes:.

All that eats a lot of space, so when it comes times for up-and-over... it just looks too toy like. I think mostly it's just because I just can't seem to "visualize" my scenery... I've seen some small layouts that looked great, but they all had nice scenery. I try to imagine- okay, a mountain here, tunnel here, hillside here... but I just can't seem to put it all together in my mind to satisfy me that it'll look right.

Oh, and did I mention I wanted to keep my grades as gradual as possible!! I'm shooting for 2~2.5%, but will probably have to go steeper :(

My table is a piece of pride for me, if I do say so :D It's as square as it gets, solid as I think it could be- I've stood on it a couple times with no noticeable flex or creaks or anything :D I braced all the legs in 3 directions each(!)... I like my table :D (someone had mentioned in an earlier post I made about some of joists being shorter... I replaced them :laugh: !!) I'm going to try to have some hidden trackage under the table, too. (I'm not asking too much, am I?!)


And I'm on, I guess... my fourth attempt? I had one laid out, the outer loop with an up and over going, was working out some minor bugs here and there and just didn't like it. Bummed my kid when I tore it down!!

I've somewhat thrown in the towel and decided on a modified version of the Atlas Berkshire. Figure-8... blah. But, it'll go up quick enough and at least get us going... I'm still puzzled over how I'll scenic it, but it'll be a good crash-course and practice for next time, I guess. I figured just pick something easy and build some more experience...

Know any good how-to scenic sites?! Shoot... I'm open to any advice I can find :D
 

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Design, Design, Design!

Hi Smokey,

I share your frustration but have the benefit of experience. My first layout was like a wedding cake: tight and twisty, layer upon layer. Trains fell off it! So here are a few pointers to a dramatic layout without grades:

* LDEs: Layout Design Elements - pick the scenes that you want THEN see how they fit on the table THEN you design the track to link between them
* 0% grade: keep the track at one level but design the landscaping to fall or rise around it. OK you have a table top but you could consider either (a) elevating the track on risers or (b) cut areas out of the table top for depressions below the track.
* Hide and divide: hide your tabletop with either backdrops or hills (or both). Divide your scenes using tunnels, highway overpasses and structures. This makes your trains appear longer if they fill a smaller scene.
* Remember the narrower the table the easier it is to landscape, clean and operate.
* Don't cram tracks into a scene (unless it is a busy yard).
* Incorporate industries on spurs to create challenging operations.
* Throw in a branch line! This might give you an excuse for a more undulating track for shorter train that you can't get away with on a mainline.

There you go, just a few hints.

Good luck!

Roscoe
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Roscoe. That's what I've been wanting to hear- experience :thumbsup:

It is tabletop now, and I have (am?) considering what you said, drop out the bottom in places, build up in others. But I have no fear of using risers :laugh:

I already plan to use a few items you mentioned below (above?)

I dig my current plan for a few reasons, but finally got my hands on JArmstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Ops. Haven't put it down in three days:laugh: I'm at a good point to do whatever on the layout- so work has stopped and I've been reading (should actually finish it 100% tonight; read many sections a couple times, looked at pics, read the first half twice- man... whatta book :thumbsup:!!) Hey... research counts as work, right?!

Anyway... I think I'm more fired than ever that THIS time, it's gonna be baddass from the start. It'll go down smooth with a well thought-out plan for it ALL this time- track, scenery and ops.

Yeah... this is the one :D

Thanks again, Roscoe. Always feel free to add anything- I'm here to learn!!!



And, no, I haven't pulled anything that I just put down. I have a nice straight going with my most beautiful curve I've ever laid, a 26" with a nice 30~32" easement. I had to push some cars thru there so laid a few sections of flex thru there....wow... what I difference as opposed to just letting them slam into 22" or 18" w/out easements!!! I always thought folks made a bit much out of it....uhh, no... it's definitely the way to go. ALL my corners will get easements now ('cept maybe in tight quarters, some yard spots, etc.)
 

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* 0% grade: keep the track at one level but design the landscaping to fall or rise around it. OK you have a table top but you could consider either (a) elevating the track on risers or (b) cut areas out of the table top for depressions below the track.
Man, I do not think I would ever be able to build a train layout without having a grade on it somewhere... My locomotives are out there to work, and I like to make them work hard, LOL :D
 
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